Captain Siya Kolisi has recovered from COVID-19 and will lead the Boks in the first test of the three-match series against the British and Irish Lions at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
Mapimpi and replacement lock, Lood de Jager, have not played any rugby since joining the Springboks in camp a month ago.
Saturday’s match will be of special significance for vice-captain Handre Pollard.
The flyhalf, who also recently recovered from COVID-19, will play in his 50th test match.

Springboks urged to rise to the occasion when they face British and Irish Lions

South Africa’s backline coach, Mzwandile Stick, has urged his players to rise to the occasion when the Springboks face the British and Irish Lions.

This has been one of the most difficult periods for Springbok rugby due to the COVID-19 infections in the camp, which hampered preparations for the upcoming series.

As a result of the COVID-19 scare, the team’s second test against Georgia, which was scheduled for 9 July, had to be cancelled. Stick says he is glad the team is now back together as a unit.

“A lot of people are going through challenges you know with the pandemic, something that a lot of us didn’t expect but it is what it is.  We had a lot of challenges like the other team, the British and Irish Lions on the other side. But I think for now we are in a good space, we got almost everyone back in camp.”

Facing the British and Irish Lions is a dream come true for any professional South African rugby player.

Pollard says the players are happy to be together again and are looking forward to the challenge.

“Personally for me, I’m ready to go and with such a squad I think this morning when you walk into the team room you feel a different vibe, but the tension in the room it’s always good, it’s going to be like that for the next three weeks. So, I think as a group getting everyone back together again is just lovely and everybody is enjoying it again. It’s time to go now, the prep, all the talking everything is finished. Now it’s time to get stuck in these three test matches,” says Pollard.